Screaming and hollering feels good for exactly half a second. Then it feels guilt-ridden and terrible. No mama wants to be a yeller, and yet here we are, aren't we? Red-faced, pulse racing, angry.
But there is a better way, certainly. We CAN stop yelling, we CAN stop feeling bad for every run-in with our kiddos, we CAN be peaceful, mostly calm mamas. Here's how to start:
1. Drum up some new strategies
You've established a worn path of yelling when you need something done, when you're angry, when you just can't anymore. So to become not-yellers, we have to change our ways. We have to re-train our brains, and developing some new strategies to deal is key. In a calm moment by yourself or with your spouse, grab a pen and paper and brainstorm some new ways to deal with your anger. Deep breathing while counting to 10. Walking out of the room. Sending the kids to their rooms while you collect yourself. Committing to yourself and each other (kids, too!) to taking control of your own actions. (This also is huge in the way of positive role modeling, so good job.) Putting $1 into a family jar every time you yell. Promising to do one of your kids' chores everytime you yell. Get enough incentive to curb your hollering tendencies, and before you know it, peace will rain down on your house.
2. Keep your head no matter what
The “why” of staying positive will help you here. Sure, you can come up with alternate strategies to yelling, but digging down into why you yell, or why you want to stop can have an even more lasting impact on your parenting. Maybe you were yelled at constantly when you were little, so a household of yelling is second nature. Inversely, maybe you grew up in a silent, shut-down environment, so you just need to say something, and yelling is all you've come up with. Also think about the legacy you want to leave for your children. Who do you want them to say you were? Taking a real look at these deep-seeded reasons can help you unearth the truth you need to make an impacting change.
3. Do yourself some good
You know the saying: if you're in a crashing plane, put on your own oxygen mask. You can't help someone else (and especially a smaller someone else) if you're feeling helpless and hopeless yourself. Take a long look at your own life. Are you getting enough sleep? A sleep deficiency alone is enough to make you too tired to warrant rational thought when it comes to lowering your voice. Are you getting any downtime for yourself? If you're getting some relaxation, if you have a hobby you practice regularly, you will handle tough parenting situations more calmly. How about your social life? If you're making an effort to have fun and enjoy life, to get out once in awhile, you will automatically feel less stress, which means less yelling. Do you have a literal lifeline/phone-a-friend? Having a trusted ear to share your struggles with can be everything you need to maintain your sanity. Is your house a disaster? It's almost impossible to be nice when you're stepping on Legos and you can't see the kitchen sink for all the dishes. Truly, a lot can be helped by giving yourself the grace to slow down a bit, get some back-up (think: husband, friend, grandma, a counselor), and take care of your own needs before you can take care of the needs of all your little folks.
We can become reformed yellers. It will take some work, some rearranging of our brains (and our voices). But we're tough, aren't we, mamas? We can do this!